The population is mainly comprised of blacks (the descendants of former slaves), East Indians (originally brought to the island as contract laborers from northern India), whites, and Chinese, many of whom are racially and culturally intermixed. The total population is estimated at 40% black, 40.3% East Indian, 18% mixed, 0.6% white, and 1.2% Chinese and other. Tobago is predominantly black.
While blacks and East Indians on Trinidad are economically interdependent, each community retains its cultural individuality: this is a life that has been called coexistence without assimilation. Intermarriage is rare, and facial and other bodily characteristics still separate the two groups, as do occupation, diet, religion, residence, agricultural landscape, sometimes dress, and often politics. Blacks are dominant in the urban areas, in the oil fields, in the poorer agricultural areas of the north, east, and southeast, and on Tobago. East Indians are dominant in the best agricultural regions. Although outnumbered in Port-of-Spain and San Fernando, urban East Indians are apt to be economically better off than the urban blacks and tend to be highly involved in commerce, industry, and the professions.